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Published 28th February 1997

Vol 38 No 5

South Africa

First, the good news

Having weathered political and economic storms in the past year, the ANC-led government is showing results

After just over a thousand days in office, President Nelson Mandela and his ministers have a spring in their step. The rand is strengthening; the economic management is winning plaudits ahead of Finance Minister Trevor Manuel's first budget on 12 March. Some big uncertainties have been taken out of politics and business: Deputy President Thabo Mbeki is near certain to succeed Mandela, perhaps as early as the end of this year; and the government is committed to following an economic reform programme which sets out specific targets along the route. Black business is growing fast (although still only 17 of the 626 companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange are black-controlled). The trades unions, the civics and even the South African Communist Party have started their own investment organisations in their efforts to join the market economy.

Deep foreground

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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It was an impressive, if slightly bizarre, demonstration of open government. On 10 February, 30 or so journalists found themselves in the hospitality suite of the National Intellig...

Garang manoeuvres

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The SPLA is fighting in the North for 'national unity' but what about the South?

The National Democratic Alliance's military gains in the north (AC Vol 38 No 3) have distracted attention from the continuing problems of Southern politics. While some opposition l...

Seeds of death

Anti-personnel mines are cheap, long-lasting and deadly. Now there are hopes for a ban

Campaigners against land-mines were encouraged by an announcement by South African Defence Minister Joe Modise on 20 February. His country had banned the use and manufacture of ant...

Small headache

Ben Ali offers minimum reform, maximum security and a strong economy

Tunisia poses a problem for Western policy makers. On the face of it, the country's economic success proves that the International Monetary Fund's stabilisation policies can work. ...

Mineclearers incorporated

Some US$45 million has been invested in mine clearance in Southern Africa since May 1991. Non-profit organisations have set the pace in pushing for mine clearance but competition i...

Sankoh sticks out

The rebels are blocking a new UN plan to get peace efforts moving again

Back in the thick of things is Corporal Foday Sankoh, leader of the Revolutionary United Front. Three months after signing a peace agreement in Abidjan with President Ahmad Tejan K...


Malaysian money I

Along with other East Asian 'tiger economies', Malaysia is being assiduously courted by the ruling South West Africa People's Organisation. Trade and Industry Minister Hidipo Hamut...

Malaysian money II

Sudan is not going to be expelled from the International Monetary Fund just yet – thanks to Malaysia, we hear. Kuala Lumpur paid instalments on Sudan's US$1.7 billion arrears last ...